Infant Deaths Spur Baby Sling Warning
Don't Put Infants Under 4 Months in Baby Slings, Consumer Product Safety Commission Warns
WebMD News Archive
March 12, 2010 - After a spate of infant suffocation deaths, the Consumer
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents to think twice before
putting infants under 4 months of age into baby slings.
The CPSC is conducting a full investigation of the once-again-trendy baby
carriers. There's been no recall, but CPSC head Inez Tenenbaum said earlier
this week that a warning was coming.
Now it's here. The warning comes on the heels of three infant deaths in 2009
and at least 14 deaths over the past two decades. Twelve of the infants were
less than 4 months old.
Babies under 4 months of age have weak neck muscles and can't control their
heads. If the sling fabric blocks the child's nose and mouth, it can suffocate
the child in just one or two minutes.
Perhaps more horribly, if the sling holds the child in a curled position
with its chin bent toward its chest, the child has difficulty breathing and
At highest risk are kids who have a breathing problem -- such as a cold --
or kids born with low birth weight.
While it has not banned the slings, it warns parents to use them correctly
when toting infants over age 4 months.
Here's the CSPC's advice:
- Place the child chin up with its face clearly visible and its nose and
mouth free of the fabric.
- Check on the child often.
- If nursing a child in a sling, change the baby's position after feeding so
its head is facing up and clear of both the sling and the mother's body.
- Do not allow the sling to cover the baby's face.
- Do not carry the child too low in the sling.
- Do not carry the child hunched with its chin touching its chest.
- Do not carry the baby with its face pressed tight against the wearer of the
If you've had an incident or injury while using a baby sling, the CSPC wants
to hear from you at 800-638-2772.